Becoming Image : Perspectives on Digital Culture, Fashion and Technofeminism
Abstract: Departing from a technofeminist perspective, Becoming Image, places the digital image in a broader context of modern and postmodern technological discourses and fashion. In four articles, the compilation dissertation expands a contemporary and imagistic tech discourse by questioning the ideology of ”masculinity”―specifically the idea of it as a historically male domain. Through interviews, discourse analysis and feminist critique, as well as an interdisciplinary focus on digital media, the project investigates how everyday image practices open up for new embodied experiences. Focusing on women and social media, the articles examines the way material and immaterial aspects of images overlap in everyday life. Rather than artistic intention, emotions and basic human interaction often lie at heart of becoming image. Fashion is, however, highly present in this critical transformation. Not only as collaborative projects emerge out of combining new technologies and dress―such as using your smartphone to elevate your clothing―but also how fashion is a technology itself. Fashion highlights the body as medium, but fashion is also always (mostly) image. Previous research around the digital image and its meaning has often stressed the banality of everyday image practices as taking selfies. However, these debates represent deeper cultural values and norms, which the dissertation reaches beyond. As women, and also queer and trans-people increasingly innovate and interfere with normative technological usage, it becomes evident that such groups have been excluded from communities organized around technological power and skill. As with language, technology and digital imagery are not neutral media. Women have hence been excluded―and been forced to use instruments and apps seemingly made for strict masculine purposes. Arguably, image practices such as selfies or image micro-blogging encourage women to “write” themselves out of a world they have not constructed themselves. Thus, Becoming Image simultaneously illuminates the structural and fundamental levels of technology and gender―while also suggesting new methodological and theoretical ways of studying and approaching digital media.
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